Publisher: Amulet Books
Pub. Date: 2016
Genre: Science Fiction, Middle Grade
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Vanguard One Middle School is hosting the Robot Integration Program. The Robot Integration Program was created to help one robot, Fuzzy, learn to be human without the Pinocchio magic. He writes his own code using “fuzzy” logic, which allows him to learn how to be a teenager. Max loves programming and robotics, so she is recruited to help integrate Fuzzy. They become fast friends while Max teaches him how to survive the seventh grade. Meanwhile, Vice Principal Barbara, another robot, is out to get Max out of her school, making her struggle through her studies. The true reason behind the Robot Integration Program and the sinister Barbara will force the friends to gather their wits and fight back. Fuzzy by Tom Angleberger and Paul Dellinger is a science fiction book focuses on the positive side of making robots think like humans, at least the side that doesn’t want to terminate the entire human species.
I saw this on the shelf at Wal-Mart, but I decided to borrow it from the library. I was interested in reading a book that wasn’t like Terminator (1984) or The Matrix (1999). The book is similar to Big Hero 6 (2014) in that the robot becomes friends with the human protagonist.
Most of the book is set at the middle school, which is designed to make students college-ready by keeping track of UpGrading scores and d(iscipline)tags. The school uses these scores to find out what works to keep students learning and what negatively impacts learning that would not otherwise be found.
The writing and design contributed to the robotic setting and feel of the book. I loved that the robots, Fuzzy and Barbara, thought and spoke in code. Whenever they were thinking, they would sometimes “think” about their routines and subroutines. One major subroutine that Fuzzy writes is HelpMax(), and I liked that it is written in code. Better, they fit grammatically in dialogue. He would say something like: “I must HelpMax().” It reminded me of a programming course I took two years ago. That helped with the development of the robot characters.
The characters were developed well. Both Fuzzy and Max grew through problem-solving of the mundane tasks to the problem that starts the book. Barbara, the villain, developed through revealing how she got to where she is. I liked seeing the villain developed as well.
If you like science fiction novels about robots and loyalty of friends, I recommend this book.